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The Great Romantic Gesture

The Great Romantic Gesture belongs to another time…

There are romantic expressions and romantic actions but a true Romantic Gesture has certain criteria, and we do not live in a world that is conducive to the Great Romantic Gesture. We live in a world that is riddled with fear and the addiction to staying alive. A true Romantic Gesture has to bypass all reason and requires some sort of considerable threat in order to qualify. The threat can come in many forms: emotional, financial, your reputation impugned or life-as-you-know-it forever altered. We are all too interested in building or holding on to our way of life for a Romantic Gesture to occur. It’s all well and good to fly someone to Paris on your private jet for the night; as exciting and unusual as that is–– if you can afford it–– but it’s not a great Romantic Gesture. For it to be a real Romantic Gesture you have to have some skin in the game, meaning risk is involved; for no risk means no reward.  
Many glorifying examples live in movies and literature. For instance, John Cusack in Say Anything. Despite him having nothing to offer nor does he qualify to be dating this girl, he is smitten, so he bypasses all logic in the face of being completely diminished by the girl’s father. He puts it all on the line for love. And in the end, he stands hoisting his ghetto-blaster high above his head in triumph, not for having won the girl, but for having triumphed over himself. A winning act. Both Romeo and Juliet gave their lives for the ultimate Romantic Gesture. They died having known what that felt like. These heroic acts used to live in life, but now they are relegated to the screen or the page.

I can’t help but think there is a yearning to know what living was like in halcyon times. There seemed to be an imperceptible net that allowed for the cavalier freefall of those bold Romantic Gestures. There is certainly no net now, whether real or imagined, but these acts–– if in fact they happen at all anymore–– belong to the foolhardy.


 Chivalry isn’t dormant or hibernating, it’s truly dead. Entitlement, however, is alive and well. –BC